hallelujah {a song diary}

although leonard cohen is saved now, he surprisingly wasn't when he wrote this song, which is so interesting to me.  it's like seeing people worship before they are even aware of God.  one night when steve & i were out for some fun, we went to a karaoke night at a local bar in vanier... quite the eclectic experience, let me tell you!  there was an awkward, lanky looking fellow that got up at one point & sang some mournful, whiny country song.  the song was terrible, not unlike the rest of the performances that evening, but there was something notable about his.  it certainly wasn't his song choice or skill, it was his heart.  he wasn't saved but there was just something so sincerely calling out to God in him as he sang.  it was like he was worshipping without even knowing it.  

i get teary almost every time i hear this song.  it makes me weak in the knees, my heart skips a beat.  i don't quite know why.  perhaps it's the picture it paints or the way the words, each ivory key, pulls the very string of the soul. it's not a neat & tidy worship song that's for sure.  it was never written with that intent but it does worship the King of kings.  it carries the cry of every soul, 'hallelujah'.  and if you listen closely, very closely, you can hear the 'hallelujah' resonate in little dingy bars on karaoke night.

i only included the chorus, first & last verse as it is a very long song but i also included this little 'i am second' rendition of the song... a page out of someone else's song diary really.  {'i am second' is a collection of testimonies from famous people}

{hallelujah} by leonard cohen
i've heard there was a secret cord, that david played, & it pleased the Lord
but you don't really care for music, do you?
it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift,
the baffled king composing hallelujah

hallelujah, hallelujah
hallelujah, hallelujah

i did my best, it wasn't much, i couldn't feel, so i tried to touch
i've told the truth, i didn't come to fool you
and even though it all went wrong, i'll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
* the jeff buckley rendition is my absolute favourite rendition of this song, just for the record!

{revelation 19:5-6} and a voice came from the throne saying, 'give praise to our God, you who fear Him, the small and the great." then i heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, 'hallelujah! for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns..."


gifts & their givers

today is my birthday, my natal anniversary, the day of my nativity, the marker of my 27th year of life.  and through those 27 years of life, i have received many gifts.  some fabulous, some tacky, some touching, some odd, some perfect, some embarrassing, some hilarious.  but no matter what the gift, the giver has always had the sincerest intentions.

growing up in a family of slightly dramatic characters, any gift, no matter how small or seemingly miniscule, always incited some type of spectacular theatrical reaction. christmas morning was quite the production, littered with deep gasps & chest clutches, shrieks & squeals of delight, the gaping jaw & eye bulge & eventually the touching silent single tear of thanks.  in each gift recipients reaction, was the intent of pleasing the gift giver by showing them their delight.  and the gift giver, of course, could not possibly be confused as to how the recipient felt about their gift.

now that i am married, i realize that not all family's require the same theatrical production.  my first christmas as a wilkins, i remember feeling quite disoriented as each gift was received in a proper, civil manner with a calm, thoughtful 'thank-you'. no jumping around, no rolling on the floor in hysterics.  just a simple 'thank-you'.  i realize that not everyone drinks as much caffiene in the morning or is as highly strung as my family, but it left an unnerving feeling as i didn't know how to read anyone's reaction.

this got me thinking, with all of the gift counting i have been doing lately in my gratitude journal, how much more do i bless Him when i delight extravagantly in His gifts?  i know the Great Gift Giver isn't a drama junkie like my family, but it must bring Him such joy to see me enjoy myself, to watch me revel in His goodness, in the counting of the trillions of moments He says i love you.

as a parent, i LOVE watching our kids enjoy themselves.  the other day, steve gave dav a bob the builder button & he went over the moon about it... apparently he has inherited a touch of the dramatic gene.  all the way home he kept saying 'i'm so happy!', petting the little button pinned onto his shirt.  it was the simplest of gifts, but he definitely enjoyed it to the max.  it was so genuine.  that's the way i want to be.  to enjoy the smallest to the max.  how much more would i enjoy the ordinary, everyday if i saw & reveled in all of the little moments of extravagant love? i choose to celebrate the everyday, wonderful, simple.  the everyday celebration of life & love preserved in uncountable moments that brim over a life full of thanks.

252. hummingbird at my window
253. gummed up abc cards
254. old, untarnished classics
255.  marigolds bowing out of their pot
256. piggy tails


wagon wear {small style}

i recently inherited this little red wagon from childhood.  it's definitely a little rough around the edges, chipped paint, dried chicken poop caked on the wheels, cracked wooden sides. but do not be fooled... it is loved & i wouldn't change a thing!  it brings back memories of death defying rides down the mountain, tows around the farm yard & has carried many precious treasures in it's time.  and now it carries my most precious treasure of all... my kids!
this edition of {small style} is a tribute to you little red wagon!

 evie: {leggings} babygap, {poka dot skirt} babygap, {onsie} carter's *the best onsies i have ever found for fit, price & durability
 micaiah: {whale one piece jumper} babygap

 davith: {t-shirt & shorts} joe fresh *both on sale right now for $2.98... i picked up next seasons size


and so turn...

Have your heart right with Christ,
and He will visit you often,
And so turn
weekdays into Sundays,
meals into sacraments,
homes in to temples
and earth into heaven.
~Charles Spurgeon


frankenfoods & the codes that hide them

i recently have been taking a closer look at those little sticky labels found on fruits & vegetables in my grocery store. they are called PLU codes {short for price look up code}, used to tell the story or history of that particular shipment of produce. PLU's provide important information about how your produce was grown or cared for. so even though something may be labelled organic, it's always helpful to take a closer look and get the full story.

if the label has:
  • 4 digits only: the produce was grown in a conventional manner which means pesticides and other chemicals or fertilizers
  • 8 + 4 digits: the produce is genetically modified, a GMO or otherwise known as frankenfood. that means it contains genes that someone else other than mother nature put there. note, genetically modified produce does not have to be labelled and sneakily can be hidden under even the organic label - take seedless grapes for instance. GMO's do have some wonderful uses in making drought resistant crops and such but as GMO's are generally newer foods that haven't fully been studied yet, avoiding/limiting them is probably recommended {i'm still researching my own convictions on GMO's so stay tuned}
  • 9 + 4 digits: the produce has been grown according to organic farming practices
here's a little creative tip to remembering all of this information for your next trip to the grocery store:
  • 4 in the store means pesticides knocking at my door
  • 8 is not at all great with all those GMO's i hate
  • 9 is fresh & fine. organic & healthy for me & mine
another helpful little helper is the environmental working group's shopper's guide to pesticides, also known as the dirty dozen & the clean fifteen. this little list definitely helped make me feel better about spending the extra few bucks on organic produce. i also found this handy little chart that breaks it all down nice and easy.
Label NumberEWG Shopper’s Guide
4 digits only = Conventional Clean 15: Lowest in Pesticides Onions, Avocado, Sweet Onions, Pineapple, Mango, Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Kiwi, Cabbage, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Sweet Potato, Honeydew Melon
8 + 4 digits = GMO Absolutely Nothing! Nada! Zip! Zero!
9 + 4 digits = Organic Dirty Dozen – Best to Buy Organic Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries, Nectarines, Bell Peppers, Spinach, Kale, Potato, Grapes (Imported)
No label or not sureEWG Full List: 49 Fruits/Veggies


lessons in the losses: swimsuits & stretchmarks

lesson in the losses #4: my body is more than an awkward swimsuit filler

swimsuit season is upon us. summer has arrived. the ritual has begun - squeezing three little bodies into teeny tiny swimsuits. little swim shorts brush just above the ankles, blonde hair turned invisible by water & sun, little white bum tan lines, excited little hands splash & squeal delight.

their little sun kissed patoots next to my not-so-little patoot. and it makes me proud.

because of this body of mine, which cannot seem to squeezing into any flattering shape of a bathing suit, that i birthed three beautiful children. this amazing body of mine, stretched and creased in all the wrong places, housed three sets of flailing limbs, three bony bums, three enormous heads... now making four. this body of mine, flabby where others are tight & toned, carried the miracle of life. i grew it within my womb, i nourished it with the sacrifice of love... i grew three, soon to be four, gorgeously healthy & strong children... and there is no shame in that, no need for insecurity or embarrassment.

so take that swimsuit season... i am proud to bear the marks of life, the badges of honor, that make me a mother to three, very soon to be four, gorgeous babies. there is nothing more beautiful than that. my body is so much more than swimsuit filler, so very much more.


where children sleep

well before i had any children of my own, i was a teacher. and well before i was a teacher, i was a lover of cool kids stuff. and so, i started collecting. collecting clothes, hairbands, books, room decor, ideas...you name it! if i really liked it, i bought it, and stored it for many, many years. and now i am enjoying my little storehouse of neurotically collected cool kids stuff. steve thinks i am nuts... but never regretted the perfect thing at the perfect time!

and this is one of those things that i will put in the storehouse for when my kids are little bit older but love the idea of what this beautifully creative picture book has attempted to accomplish. 'where children sleep' by james mollison is a photographic story of diverse children told through portraits & pictures of their bedrooms. as a bedroom is a significant part of childhood & can reflects much of who we are & where we came from, this unique & yet touching collection of photographs is intended to engage children ages 9-13 as well as adults. this depiction of details of children's lives around the world is quite moving, addressing social issues & children's rights. i hope to show this to my kids one day as a way of opening their eyes to the world around them & helping them put their own lives into perspective. to use as a conversation starter about our western self-centeredness, change & gratitude, in a sensitive atmosphere where my kids can draw their own conclusions & convictions. there is a preview of the photos online which you can view by clicking here.


homemade goldfish crackers

i personally loved goldfish crackers... i think that's all i ate my first year of university. however, muchto my chagrin, they are not the healthiest snack on the shelf with high sodium, high calorie, no notable fibre & a nice dose of good old-fashioned MSG (monosodium glutamate).
not really wanting to give up my little fishy addiction, i really needed to ask... what's so bad about MSG? but they're too cute to be bad for you? isn't every cracker high in sodium? {although, for a quick snack fix kashi's 7 grain tlc's are pretty good} for such an innocent looking little fish, it is sadly one of those travesties of childhood marketing. MSG is a flavour enhancer and a preservative that has been tagged as an addictive neurotoxin. it hides in many foods under names like hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeasts & protein concentrates. just when i thought protein was a good word! look out for this sneaky little additive in foods like canned tuna, vegetable broth, low fat yogurt & ice creams.
there seems to be some controversy on the impact of MSG on our health. some people blame serious neurological & physiological disorders on MSG, while other studies have said that "normal" consumption of MSG doesn't have an affect of the majority of the population. but one thing is for sure, MSG makes food yummy! and for kids, that usually means they get addicted & then cease to enjoy real food tastes anymore (myself as exhibit no. 1). i'm sure we've all either faced or overheard other parents say that all he/she eats is crackers and nothing else. so, with great sadness, i've put away the crackers or just give them in very small quantities/less frequency. until i found this tasty recipe as a substitute! when i found this recipe i almost jumped for joy knowing that davith wouldn't have to be deprived of one of the monumental memories of childhood... the fishy cracker!
here is the adapted recipe from foodbuzz:

  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour {i use multigrain or whole wheat}
  • 4 tablespoon(s) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounce(s) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (around 2 cups). Note: you can experiment with other cheeses. Some people have tried this and loved the results! {i used the oldest cheddar i could find - i generally try to limit dairy with my kids but with goat cheddar being super expensive, i just used old cheddar - the older the cheddar, the healthier it is}
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt {i used veggie salt or sea salt}
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (note: this is optional since it isn’t part of the original recipe, but I decided to add anyway since I used it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. pulse the flour,onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper together using a food processor.
  2. add the butter and cheese, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade. remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes (I put it in the freezer for 20 minutes and in the fridge for 10) or up to 24 hours.
  4. bake the crackers: heat oven to 350 degrees F. line 2 baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness, using flour if necessary to prevent stickiness. cut out as many crackers as possible.
  5. to add character to the fish: break off an end from a side of a toothpick so it is blunt. use that point to make the goldfish eyes. to make the smile, lay the toothpick down on its side, press, and drag. if you try to use the toothpick point, it will ruin the smile.
  6. optional: refrigerate for another 15 minutes or so to make sure they won’t spread.
  7. place them on the prepared baking pans. bake until golden and crisp (13-18 minutes). transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. they are best when completely cooled and the next day in my opinion. store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
to make homemade fishy cracker cutter or any other fun shape your little one might like:

  • draw outline of goldfish on a piece of paper for reference. (mine was about an inch in length)
  • take an empty soda can and cut through it horizontally using a sharp knife.
  • using your scissors, cut a strip of metal from the soda can (it should be the circumference of the soda can).
  • straighten edges with scissors
  • using your goldfish paper template, determine how big the head will be and fold both sides outwards accordingly. don’t fold too harshly or the strip will break. if this happens, just cut off another strip and start again.
  • using your template, determine when to fold the tail. make sure the end of the tail overlaps at some point, and cut off the excess strip if necessary.
  • staple or tape or glue the ends of the tail together. (i used tape over the tail).
  • for more safety, you may put a protective layer of tape over the top part of the fish (the non-cookie cutting side where you’ll be applying the pressure) as a protection against the metal when cutting.